Picks and Pans Review: The Amateur

updated 03/22/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/22/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

If its storyline wasn't so improbable, and so similar to Three Days of the Condor, this would be a far more enjoyable spy thriller. The actors—mainly John Savage, Christopher Plummer and Marthe Keller—are appealing, as are the Toronto, Vienna and Munich locations. Try, however, to swallow this chain of events: International terrorists take over an American consulate in Munich. They kill a hostage, a journalist who is Savage's girlfriend. He is a civilian employee for the CIA back in Virginia. When, for political reasons, the agency refuses to pursue the terrorists, Savage blackmails a CIA official into teaching him to be an agent; then, after the equivalent of a cram course in assassination, he chases the terrorists to Czechoslovakia. There he meets friendly Keller and not-so-friendly Plummer, a Czech spy who's also a Shakespearean scholar. It all strains credibility. Director Charles (Anne of a Thousand Days) Jarrott seems to have forgotten Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway went through most of this in Condor, which may not have been more realistic than this movie but did at least get here first. (R)

From Our Partners